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EDITORIAL: It is very unfortunate that any and all attempts to break the ice with India, whether by the government or the establishment, are promptly undercut by other forces and powers within the country.

It is becoming clear that former army chief General Bajwa engineered a plan to get Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come to Pakistan for more than a week when PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) was in power, but the then prime minister Imran Khan walked out of the deal after first agreeing to it.

According to details making their way to the press, the Indian PM planned to visit a Hindu temple in Balochistan before making his way to Islamabad where the two prime ministers would have held hands, put Kashmir on freeze for 20 years and promised to work around their differences.

Imran Khan first appreciated the idea but was persuaded by the then foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to opt out because the opposition of the time was sure to grill him for “selling out” on the sensitive matter of Kashmir.

This is in stark contrast to what happened a few decades ago. Then former PM Nawaz Sharif invited his Indian counterpart, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, to Lahore, but a positive outcome of that trip in terms of improving relations between the two neighbours was sabotaged because the military, under General Pervez Musharraf, didn’t want to play along.

Now, when PM Shehbaz Sharif tried to leverage the good offices of the UAE (United Arab Emirates) president to broker talks with India, PTI went to town on it even before Abu Dhabi could raise the matter with New Delhi. And so we go round and round in circles, with little hope of any sort of progress in the foreseeable future.

The Pakistani side says, with some justification, that no talks are possible till the Indian government restores Kashmir’s special status, which the Modi administration is in no mood to do, and a persistent deadlock is assured.

Perhaps we could learn from the India-China example to broaden our vision regarding this matter. Those two countries are locked in a fierce rivalry for regional dominance, with India firmly in Washington’s camp as part of its Pivot to Asia policy to counter China’s rise, yet they don’t allow such issues to interfere with things like trade and commerce and cross-border investments that ultimately benefit both economies and their people.

Pakistan and India, on the other hand, have not been able to make any progress at all in seven and a half decades because of the former’s insistence that contentious matters, especially Kashmir, be settled first and the latter’s refusal to so much as entertain any such thoughts, much less allow foreign mediation.

They did, however, come close to settling the Sir Creek issue when President Musharraf and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh finally sat across the table. Former foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri, who led the Pakistani side in the negotiations, claimed that the two sides came “within a signature” of settling that particular dispute but Manmohan Singh could not come to Islamabad for the formalities in 2007 because by then the lawyers movement had erupted in Pakistan.

There is, however, a lot of sense in putting friction on hold for a few years and initiating progressive economic and financial interaction between Islamabad and Delhi. If we haven’t been able to settle Kashmir since partition, with practically no chance of anything happening any time soon, it’s not really a bad idea to make progress in other areas, preferably tying the two sides in long term economic projects that benefit both countries, before moving on to difficult things like Kashmir.

But none of that will be possible unless all stakeholders within Pakistan, especially constantly bickering political parties, are on the same page. It’s bad enough that India abuses its large market to blind the international community and get away with murder in Kashmir.

But our side, too, is often the part of the problem rather than the solution only because the need to score cheap political points is greater than improving the lot of ordinary people of the subcontinent. That must change and both India and Pakistan must find ways to engage progressively, with economic initiatives leading the way.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

Comments

1000 characters
Free Balochistan Jan 21, 2023 02:17pm
Pakistan is getting away with worse than murder in Balochistan even without a market or economy.
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Sid Jan 21, 2023 04:12pm
I think the experiment of a "Pakistan" for people of one religion has failed. Time to dissolve the ghetto and reunite with the motherland. The region will be a superpower soon.
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TimeToMovveOn Jan 21, 2023 10:02pm
The fact or fiction of India getting away with murder is not Pakistan's problem. Pakistan's human rights are not a shining beacon. Just look at Balochistan. Every economically strong country will use (or, as you call abuse) its strength to dominate its voices. Think China. Pakistan and the world community know that there is no chance for India to give up Kashmir in Pakistan's terms. The great Dawn journalist Ayaz Amir said in 1999, "Pakistan has sacrificed everything in the alter of Kashmir" and has not gained anything. So stay stuck to the Kashmir anchor if you want. India/Modi has shown that it is ready to talk without preconditions. The ball is in Pakistan's court. Will Pakistan reimagine itself or stay stuck to the past 75 years?
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TimeToMovveOn Jan 21, 2023 10:04pm
@Free Balochistan , Well said. The problem is that Pakistan has I am holier than thou attitude only when it comes to India. It ignores China, Russia, and Iran. But has a huge problem with India getting away with so-called murder. It is not Pak's problem. Paks' problem is its own citizens who are dying for roti--that is indirect murder!
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HashBrown® Jan 22, 2023 07:52am
@Free Balochistan , "Pakistan is getting away with worse than murder in Balochistan even without a market or economy." If we ever find mass graves filled with thousands of teenage corpses in Balochistan, or if we find that there's a nationwide program to resettle non-Baloch citizens on stolen Baloch land, or if we unearth a media blackout in the province to allow for the armed forces to carry out mass rapes and disappearances of the local population, then perhaps we will be able to compare Balochistan to Occupied Kashmir. Until then, there is absolutely no comparison. Frankly this editorial is a rare example of BR coming up with complete nonsense. Why in the world should Pakistan endorse the savagery of Hindustan's behaviour? Modi is a war criminal and will remain so, however much he tries to bribe the international community - he should be avoided like the plague, as should his country. Pakistan's focus needs to be on its own domestic strength.
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HashBrown® Jan 22, 2023 07:54am
@Sid, "Time to dissolve the ghetto and reunite with the motherland.' I agree. Hindustan sits below Pakistan on the global hunger index, so Hindustanis are the ones living in the real ghetto. What we need is a few more 1947 movements to smash up the rest of the ghetto so the people of Assam, Eastern Punjab, Hyderabad and of course Kashmir can live in peace and freedom. It's only a matter of time.
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Free Balochistan Jan 22, 2023 01:06pm
@HashBrown®, Come visit Balochistan. Sitting at the comforts and amenities of DHA and burying truth. Hallmark of liars.
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Sonar Bangla Jan 22, 2023 01:08pm
@HashBrown®, do you know operation searchlight? Look who's talking about war criminals.
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Abdul WAHAB, Dhaka Jan 22, 2023 01:11pm
@HashBrown®, This seems far better than what you people did in East Pakistan
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Mehrunnisa, Dhaka Jan 22, 2023 01:14pm
@HashBrown®, your hands are eternally drenched in blood. Balochistan, Bangladesh, etc. How shameless can you get to even be alive.
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HashBrown® Jan 22, 2023 04:05pm
@Free Balochistan , "Sitting at the comforts and amenities of DHA and burying truth." You don't know the first thing about Balochistan, sitting in your Hindustani slum and pretending to pass yourself off as a Pakistani. Right now your government is struggling to suppress a documentary on Modi's brutality in Gujarat - and you're offering sermons about lying?
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HashBrown® Jan 22, 2023 04:07pm
@Sonar Bangla , . "Look who's talking about war criminals." Did you read about the Mukhti Bahini and the horrors they inflicted on innocent civilians? If the military committed war crimes, how do we describe the terrorism from the other side? How convenient of you to not even think about it.
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HashBrown® Jan 22, 2023 04:12pm
@Abdul WAHAB, Dhaka , "This seems far better than what you people did in East Pakistan" Do yourself a favour and pick up a history book. The casualties in Occupied Kashmir, even without the media blackout, are far greater than the deaths that came about from 1971. That was a conflict where both sides were armed, and you're trying to compare it to the persecution of civilians by 700,000 soldiers who have been given state permission to rape and murder ass much as they desire...what planet are you living on?
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HashBrown® Jan 22, 2023 04:18pm
@Mehrunnisa, Dhaka , "your hands are eternally drenched in blood." Spare me your fake outrage, trying to compare Balochistan to Kashmir. Where are the mass graves in Balochistan? Where are the adverts encouraging other Pakistanis to resettle on Baloch land? Where are the religious fanatics who are bragging about "claiming" Baloch women the way the RSS terrorists are doing regarding the women of Occupied Kashmir? Try lecturing me about the gift of life when you're the next one to have your door kicked in by Hindustani rapists, you shameless hypocrite.
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Truthful12 Afghan Jan 23, 2023 12:25am
@HashBrown®, you must be the son of the first Pakistani soldier who surrendered in East Pakistan. Son of a coward vehemently fighting for his dad's honour. It would have been good for you if he had killed himself than surrender
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HashBrown® Jan 23, 2023 05:58am
@Truthful12 Afghan , You must think you're the first fearsome warrior ever to throw personal insults while hiding behind your phone. Sit down behta, you're embarrassing yourself.
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Mada9 Afghan Jan 23, 2023 12:23pm
@HashBrown®, we are giving a dignified discharge for your 'bhetas' unlike your coward father at your western border. Sit down old castigated cant
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Mada9 Afghan Jan 23, 2023 12:27pm
@Truthful12 Afghan , brother let's save our anger and unleash at the border
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HashBrown® Jan 23, 2023 04:58pm
@Mada9 Afghan , "we are giving a dignified discharge for your 'bhetas' unlike your coward father at your western border. Sit down old castigated cant" Who is "we"? It looks suspiciously like you're the same person posting under different accounts. One day you will realise that the reason for you making personal insults online is because you were always too cowardly to talk this way to anyone directly. Ever wondered what that says about your own parents, out of curiosity?
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Asfa, Melbourne Jan 24, 2023 08:21am
@HashBrown®, will give roti and naan for you and your daughters for a month as alms. Stop barking nonsense.
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Proud Ahmadi Jan 24, 2023 08:24am
@HashBrown®, the most lamest come back ever. BTW how many days has it been that you had a dignified meal with your hard earned money? (No charity, loan or scavenging)
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HashBrown® Jan 24, 2023 05:12pm
@Proud Ahmadi, "the most lamest come back ever. BTW how many days has it been that you had a dignified meal with your hard earned money? (No charity, loan or scavenging)" Most lamest?! Behta if you struggle with English, maybe you should stick to your mother tongue of Hindi. It might be a better way to spend your day than posting multiple messages under different names while being humiliated each time. Now go build a toilet, make Modi proud.
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HashBrown® Jan 24, 2023 05:16pm
@Mada9 Afghan , "brother let's save our anger and unleash at the border" Excellent idea. Use all that anger for the border. Actually bring all your friends and family too. Our army will meet you there, and I'll bring a mop and bucket to clean your remains off our soil!
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Anwar Jan 24, 2023 07:28pm
@HashBrown®, Are you illegitimate child of Modi? It seems like you have abandoned father issues.
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Ahmadi lives matter Jan 24, 2023 07:29pm
@HashBrown®, Neutered skunk. Stop spreading your stink around.
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Proud Ahmadi Jan 24, 2023 07:31pm
@HashBrown®, Are you calling everyone bheta since you can't have one biologically.
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AfghanTTP Jan 24, 2023 07:34pm
@HashBrown®, that's exactly your job, mopping what's left of others.
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Proud Ahmadi Jan 24, 2023 07:37pm
@HashBrown®, empty stomach, false prestige and beliefs in pseudo history. Hallmark of you and your fathers.
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Mada9, Afghan Jan 24, 2023 07:40pm
@HashBrown®, I have a neutered dog named Hashbrown. Never knew it was mad until now. Time to put it down mercilessly.
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HashBrown® Jan 24, 2023 09:50pm
@Ahmadi lives matter, "Neutered skunk. Stop spreading your stink around." That neutered skunk smell is coming from the hole in the ground that you use as a toilet. Maybe you should do the world a favour and stick your head down there for an hour or so.
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HashBrown® Jan 24, 2023 09:55pm
@AfghanTTP, "that's exactly your job, mopping what's left of others." Actually that's our army's job - and they've been cleaning you animals up at the border for decades now. Well done for understanding, behta. Now go build a toilet for mother hindustan...
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HashBrown® Jan 26, 2023 03:55pm
@Mada9, Afghan , "I have a neutered dog named Hashbrown. Never knew it was mad until now. Time to put it down mercilessly." It's genuinely funny that you're going to read this message back to yourself and think it's a scary threat. Next time be more specific though - last time I checked, there were about 1.4 billion neutered dogs in Hindustan.
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HashBrown® Jan 26, 2023 04:01pm
@Asfa, Melbourne , "will give roti and naan for you and your daughters for a month as alms. Stop barking nonsense." Barking nonsense? Coming from the person posting under a dozen different names to make themselves look popular? Just because you live in the rape capital of the world doesn't mean you need to have an obsession with daughters...
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